​SWIFT to use Microsoft Azure for payments transfers

The companies are proving out a Microsoft Azure cloud-based solution for payments transfers conducted on the SWIFT network.

yawar-shah-swift.jpg

SWIFT Chairman of the Board Yarwar Shah at Sibos in Sydney

Image: Asha McLean/ZDNet

Microsoft has on Monday announced a partnership with SWIFT, hoping to facilitate the future deployment of the latter's messaging service in the cloud.

Announced during day one of Sibos in Sydney, the pair of companies said they have conducted a cloud-native proof of concept to host SWIFT infrastructure and enable payment transfers on Microsoft Azure.

SWIFT provides financial messaging services to more than 11,000 financial institutions in over 200 countries.

Currently, enterprises and financial institutions conduct these transactions by sending payment messages over the SWIFT network, leveraging on-premises installations of SWIFT technology.

The Azure offering will see this tech taken to the cloud, touted as improving speed and security.

Microsoft's internal treasury department is serving as the initial user for the proof of concept.

According to the tech giant, the Microsoft Treasury group manages over $150 billion in assets and supports over $400 billion per year in SWIFT-based payments, supporting operations in over 190 countries.

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It was explained in a blog post that the proof of concept works by Microsoft Treasury sending a wire instruction -- through SAP on Azure -- that then gets validated using machine learning algorithms.

Once validated for authenticity, the wires are then sent to SWIFT via Microsoft's SWIFT installation on the cloud. SWIFT validates the wire instructions and sends it off to the appropriate bank. Once the bank completes the wire instruction it sends confirmation over to Microsoft.

"This is a big step forward in demonstrating the potential of the cloud in improving back office operational efficiency," SWIFT head of customer platforms Arnaud Boulnois said.

"SWIFT continually seeks to reduce and remove friction and eliminate operational inefficiencies within the financial services payment ecosystem.

"Cloud adoption continues to increase within the financial services industry."

Microsoft and SWIFT have completed the first Azure payment already, hoping to bring the solution to via private preview to joint customers in the "near future".

According to Microsoft, beyond the immediate operational and security benefits in moving to the cloud, there is significant potential to add additional business logic, such as advanced analytics and AI.

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